Fourth Annual Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala Supports Cancer Research

Intro: On Thursday night, the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center put all its efforts into supporting cancer research at the fourth annual Chuckstrong Gala.

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INDIANAPOLIS – In a week the Colts returned to work, Chuck Pagano put on his other hat Thursday night.

This one bears the look of a man who has inspired many and helped raise more than two million dollars for cancer research.

On Thursday night, the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center was transformed into a place with all its efforts going towards the ultimate fight.

The Indianapolis Colts and Pagano hosted the fourth annual Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala to raise awareness and funds for cancer research at the IU Simon Cancer Center.

"I've got two jobs," a smiling Pagano said on Thursday night. "Everybody knows what my No. 1 job is but this is a priority.

"I'm blessed to have a platform and we are going to use the platform like we should use it. We are going to give back."

What was raised Thursday night will be used to "support cancer research projects that translate laboratory discoveries into improved treatment options for patients."

Since its launch in 2012, the Chuckstrong campaign has net raised more than $3.7 million for cancer research.

"Obviously it's a great cause and near and dear to my heart," Pagano said on Thursday. "We've got great passion for it.

"Hats off to Jim Irsay and his family, (Colts Chief Operating Officer) Pete Ward, all the doctors, all the researchers, all the caregivers, the support staff, that put this together and made this possible. A lot of hard work and a lot of effort went into this deal and all for a great cause."

Fun candid images from the 2016 Chuckstrong Gala.

The support from Pagano has always been evident inside the Colts' locker room.

Despite an up-and-down 8-8 campaign last season, players stood by their head coach.

Thursday night was another example, with droves of Colts' players in attendance.

From Andrew Luck throwing passes to attendees, to various Colts playing corn hole with guests, you saw what Pagano meant to his players.

"You see how much people support him and back him," Robert Mathis said on Thursday night.

"It's grown every year and it's kind of exploded. It's a big deal."

The theme of this year's gala was something Mathis heard in a November locker room victory speech, back in 2012.

Live in vision and not in circumstance.

Those words, spoken by a battling Pagano, were again on display Thursday night.

"So many people supported me and helped me through my journey. You can't do it alone," Pagano said. "It's about hope. It's about faith. It's about a vision knowing that you have what it takes to get through it and that you're not doing it alone.

"Our vision is to find a way right here, in Indy, to stamp out cancer. That's what we're here for."

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